10 really useful tips that will save you money on school uniform
(Photo: Peter Muller via Getty Images)
The school uniform is not cheap. Sure, you can buy the basics at the supermarket, but the moment you add school crest sweaters, blazers and gym kits, the expense for parents increases.
It now costs almost £100 on average to get your child fully kitted out for the year in compulsory uniform, according to consumer watchdog Which?.
And in the context of a cost of living crisis, when you’ll be dealing with multiple growing children, parents will be looking to save money wherever possible.
To help you out, here are 10 top tips for cutting costs ahead of the new term.
1. Ask the school about used uniforms
Parents can check to see if their child’s school or parent-teacher association (PTA) has a second-hand sales group, where you may be able to purchase second-hand items. Although not available at all schools, you can try hosting your own secondhand sale with the school or check out social media sites and apps such as Facebook Marketplace or Freecycle.
2. Don’t be fooled by multipacks
Many school uniform items are sold in two-, four-, and five-piece multipacks. While it might be good value for basic white polo shirts that kids might need to wear every day, it might not be necessary to buy so many sets of pants or skirts. ‘school.
Always calculate the price per item to see if you will save by buying more. For example, Tu at Sainsbury’s is selling a multipack of four black woven school trousers for nine-year-olds for £16, or £4 per pair. But you’ll pay the same price per item if you buy the two-pack, for £8. So don’t feel pressured to buy more than you need.
Alternatively, if you spot a great multipack deal and you don’t really need all the items, parents can partner up with another parent and split the costs. Teaming up with families with kids of different ages is also a great way to transition clothes when they outgrow.
4. Buy a “grow resistant” uniform
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to buy a uniform in the larger size, especially if it’s an expensive item like a blazer. You can also try wearing long school pants and lowering the hem as your child grows. Some stores, such as Marks & Spencer, sell pants with a “dust hem”, which are made with extra length. As children grow, you can lower the pants by unstitching the hem and pressing with an iron.
5. Check for grants
Some parents will be eligible for a school uniform grant worth £200, depending on their income and where they live. Grants are generally available to people receiving benefits such as Universal Credit and Child Tax Credit.
You may also be eligible if your child receives free school meals. Not all councils in England offer this, but you can check what is on offer via the government website. Grant schemes also differ across the UK.
7. Look for shoes in outlet stores
Some major shoe stores have online outlets where you can buy discount shoes for a fraction of the price. Who? found girls’ school shoes for £32 on Clarks Outlet, a third (33%) less than the full price of £48. Elsewhere, you can get cheaper shoes at office scraps, which sells “discontinued, ex-displays and last pairs of shoes”, and all the stock is new. There is also an ex-display range at Schuh.
8. Keep the uniform in good condition so it lasts longer
While you can’t prevent kids from outgrowing their uniforms, you can keep clothes in good condition to delay buying replacements. For example, you can buy a razor for as little as £5 on Amazon, which can make worn-out woolen sweaters look brand new. Regular polishing of school shoes will protect them and also make them more elegant.
9. Look for offers
Many retailers are offering deals and discounts on uniforms this time of year, so it’s worth looking and shopping around for the best ones. For example, Kickers has a family deal that offers 20% off if you buy two pairs of school shoes or 25% off three pairs. Meanwhile, Aldi is currently selling many school uniform items, including a girls black pleated skirt for just £1.75.
10. Look for discount codes and loyalty apps
Coupert and Pouch are free shopping tools that offer to automatically find all available vouchers in one click and apply them to your shopping cart. You can also benefit from offers by registering for a loyalty program.
For example, the H&M club is free to join. It offers all members free shipping, and you can accumulate points for every purchase, which eventually leads to coupons.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.